Pros: Inexpensive. Ease of use. Allows you to experiment.
Cons: Requires special tool for installation.
A few months ago I had the opportunity to visit with a very good putter fitter in Erie, PA. I learned some very important things about my putting stroke, feel and the way I interact with my putter. What I learned was:
- I don't aim my putter particularly well. I see "square" as "open" which means that when I line up to putt I tend to set up with a closed face.
- Because I set up with a closed face but still want to hit the ball to the hole, I tend to push my putts to compensate.
- My distance control is a little spotty.
Now the good news is there are solutions to all of these issues (the first one will require me eventually getting a putter that suits my eye better, the second one will work itself out once the first one is addressed) and the Tour Locks were the simplest solution to the third issue of distance control. My fitter (you may have heard of this Erik guy ) had me hitting putts to a piece of string. I actually felt I did OK with this test as all 5 of my balls were within 2' of the string, I was putting from about 20' out on a fairly flat surface. Next Erik did a little tinkering with the weight set-up of the test putter and had me putt again. Holy Moses©, 3 of the balls stopped ON THE STRING and the the other 2 were within a putter head. I made NO alterations to my mechanics at all, I simply felt the distance better. Hard to explain but with the proper weight distribution it was almost like there was no putter, just me rolling balls along the floor. It was effortless and magical feeling.
As luck would have it, my own putter matched the profile of my ideal putter fairly well, at least in terms of weight distribution, the head is 350 grams with a 34" shaft whereas the test putter was 355 gram head. The change that the fitter made between the first 5 balls and the second 5 balls was to add 40g of weight to the butt of the club. After a little research I stumbled across the Tour Lock back weighting system and $20 later have a putter that was perfectly balanced for me. Best $20 I have ever spent and I have been putting lights out ever since.
Installation is a cinch. They look like a bullet with a rubber sleeve around the nose. Simply drill a hole (with the installation tool) in the end of your grip and push the Tour Lock in until it is flush. Tightening the Tour Lock with an allen key compresses and expands the rubber sleeve, snugly securing the weight into the grip of your club. Voila! You're done.
Tour Locks are available in variety packs with several different weights and a special tool (attaches to a standard power drill) for installation. If you don't have access to a fitter I would suggest you pick up a pack and experiment a little until you find the combination that lets you effortlessly control your distances. If you don't want to spend the cash on the starter kit you can experiment with taping nickels to the butt of your club. Each nickel weights about 5 grams so you can narrow it down to which weight would be best for you and just order the individual weight. I recommend spending the extra $20 for the installation tool, I opted to just use a regular drill bit and it was a colossal pain in the butt.
Thanks for reading,